Over the next two weeks, St. Patrick and Run DSR are bringing you all their hot takes on this season’s Hoyas. How long would a team have to go without making the tournament’s second weekend before it qualifies as a “curse?” Asking for a friend. Up this week: Jonathan Mulmore.
NAME: Jonathan Mulmore
POSITION: Point guard HEIGHT: 6-foot-4 WEIGHT: 185 lbs
WHAT WE KNOW
Jonathan Mulmore is a speedy point guard from Allegany College (Md.), where he put up a 26-4-6 line on 48 percent shooting last year. He loves to get to the rim and get fouled, shooting more free throws last year than any junior college player in the country and hitting 81 percent of them. But as exciting as those numbers look, there was concern about the big fish/small pond effect. Can he be a high-level Division 1 point guard?
Kenner League observations should always be taken with a grain of salt, especially for athletic, ball-dominating guards who like to attack the rim. But even when factoring in the environmental advantages, Mulmore looked extremely promising over the summer. I don’t know if he’s “as fast as Iverson” or not, but he’s certainly as fast as any Georgetown player I’ve seen in six years closely watching the team. He got to the rim nearly at will all summer, set up teammates effectively and knocked down threes — albeit with an odd, low release — when left open. He turned the ball over more than one would like, which is somewhat expected given the fast, aggressive nature of his game. I don’t recall getting any distinct positive or negative impressions of Mulmore’s defensive ability, but he certainly has the tools to be at least a competent defender. All in all, he can absolutely play at the Big East level.
WHAT WE EXPECT
Barring some massive improvement by Tre Campbell or Jagan Mosely in the last few months, Mulmore should start and see the majority of minutes at point guard this season. How much he’ll be asked to do depends on the degree of this much-hyped change in John Thompson III’s offensive approach.
It would be a significant display of trust in his point guard for JTIII to reject the methodical, half-court offense he’s been known for in favor of a more run-and-gun approach — especially given Mulmore’s high turnover rate in JUCO and Kenner play. But if Georgetown does indeed turn into a full-court team, Mulmore will be its engine. Markel Starks and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera were excellent players, but JTIII hasn’t had a point guard whose first instinct is to push the ball and attack the basket since Chris Wright. He’d have that in the dynamic Mulmore, plus a full complement of athletic, versatile wings to join in on the fun. This wouldn’t solve all the problems the 2015-16 Hoyas faced, of course — defensive improvements across the board are an imperative, especially if they look to play faster — but it would represent an important step for JTIII in prioritizing the strengths of his personnel over his own preferences. Assuming Mulmore is the starting point guard, there is no player more central to this potentially huge shift in coaching philosophy.
Mulmore doesn’t go completely to waste if the Hoyas spend most of the year in some version of JTIII’s modified Princeton/motion offense. His quickness could help revitalize the back-door cuts whose absence in recent years has made the offense one-dimensional and stagnant, and his ability to get to the basket might result in valuable drive-and-kick plays. Mulmore would need to minimize turnovers in this scenario, which means resisting the urge to throw dangerous passes or force drives that aren’t there. He’d also need to hit open three-pointers at a respectable clip, but we know he’s capable: Kenner correspondent vv1983 noted that he repeatedly knocked down long shots when his defender went under screens.
Still, Mulmore’s talents lend themselves so well to the open floor that it seems irresponsible — even more so than in past years — for the coaching staff to slow him down. Given what we know about his tendencies, there will likely be some regrettable “heat-check” moments. We hope that they’re few enough that they don’t hold back what could be a truly explosive offense.